Many times it feels as though there are some legends of throughout the history of heavy metal that simply don’t get enough credit, and, fortunately, they’re offered new opportunities time and again to show off their musical greatness to new audiences. With the two musicians named for this band once both being part of Fates Warning at the same time, it’s here with the second offering of Arch / Matheos that they, yet again, that the largely unsung names of Jim Matheos and John Arch get to flex their creative excellence through pristine metal once more!
You could’ve sat there and told me that this was a side project of Fates Warning without giving me any prior knowledge to the band’s history and I probably would’ve believed you, but don’t let that make you think this band is just trying to become like that legendary act. There’s but a shred of similarity between the two bands, and it’s clear to me that “Winter Ethereal” is an album very special for the likes of Arch / Matheos as you can simply feel the heart, sweat, and tears really overflowing through every track of this record. And there’s so much to go around with this album! Just the fact that some of these tracks stretch to an expansive length of eight to even thirteen minutes is enough to catch my attention, but the immense diversity amongst all the tracks and a sound that feels exactly as though it’s a merging of both classic and modern progressive metal sounds that coalesce beautifully on a scale that I never would’ve dared to imagine! Every single factor that went into the staggering work that is “Winter Ethereal” was pulled off with masterful precision and quality, and really that’s only to be expected given the background and decades of work in music that this act has become associated with.
Yet, even after several listens, it’s hard for me to not call “Winter Ethereal” a true piece of art that Arch / Matheos should be immensely proud of. It’s a body of work that simply oozes with excellence and constantly surprises the listener with one track after another being nothing short of work that should catch the eye of any veteran of the world of metal as well as any newcomer that has had the true misfortune of never hearing of these unsung titans of metal beforehand.
“Winter Ethereal” releases on March 10th via Metal Blade Records!
LISTEN to advanced tracks from “Winter Ethereal” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Arch / Matheos on Facebook here.
FOLLOW Arch / Matheos on Twitter: @ArchMatheos